THE SONG THAT IS PLAYING IN MY HEAD- IF I CAN DREAM- ELVIS PRESLEY

 

I am sure we all at least now and then get a song stuck in their head that just won’t go away. Sometimes it might just last a few hours or for a day or maybe even longer. Hopefully the song playing in your head is a good one but I know sometimes the song that gets stuck in my mind is something terrible.

I have always liked the Elvis Presley song “If I Can Dream” but when I recently watched the documentary “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” I went from liking the song to loving it. I can’t get it out of my head.  In late June 1968 Elvis was filming his ’68 Comeback Special which would be aired around Christmas.

Originally the plan was for Elvis to perform  “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” as the finale. Songwriter Walter Earl Brown was called in though to write a song to replace it. Elvis loved it and proclaimed that from now on he would never do another song he didn’t believe in or do another movie that he didn’t believe in.” Elvis’s manager the carnival barker Col. Thomas Parker didn’t think it was an Elvis kind of song. Elvis wanted to try it and luckily in this case he rejected Parker’s suggestions.

 

Hear a lovely arrangement of "If I Can Dream," featuring Elvis' vocals and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, on the 2016 album, "If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra."

The writer of “If I Can Dream”  Walter Earl Brown included direct quotations from the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr in this song. King had been assassinated in Memphis just two months earlier not all that far from the home of Elvis Presley. Robert Kennedy had just been assassinated a couple weeks before the song was written. Elvis loved this song and one thing they said about Elvis is if you brought something to him that he believed in you would get full effort from Elvis into the song. You bring him crap material that he didn’t care for and he’d go through the motions. Elvis wanted to show where he stood in the summer of 1968. It was the RFK assassination coming on the heals of Dr. King’s that created this song. After seeing the news of RFK’s assassination Elvis and the Elvis ’68 specials producer spent the night talking about the assassinations and Elvis’ dreams for the world. This is where they brought in Brown to write a song. Elvis wanted a powerful and meaningful song to end his show- and this is what they got. Elvis put everything he had into the performance and to me it is one of the great performances of his career- and what an end to Elvis ’68 it would prove to be. When Elvis was performing the song several of the back-up singers had tears rolling down their cheeks because of the emotion Elvis had in singing the song. He was totally invested in it. The single released in December went to #12 on the Billboard Top 100 in the U.S. If Elvis had only fired Col. Parker and kept away from the jumpsuits and capes.

 

See artifacts from Elvis' '68 Special at Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley's Memphis at Graceland.

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